Alright... Let’s Focus, Vols
Written by: Dylan Saylor
Christmas is officially over, which puts college basketball on the main platform with college football wrapping up. So that begs the question, “what are the Vols going to do without senior point guard Lamonté Turner?” Saturday is UT’s last non-conference game before league play starts (minus the SEC/BIG 12 challenge later in the season). What can we except to see from the Vols moving forward?
Hopefully new-comer Santiago Vescovi can step into the role of PG, (when he’s actually able to play) but it’s a mystery considering Barnes was quoted prior to Turner’s departure saying that, more than likely, he wouldn’t play this year and likely redshirt.
Let’s focus rather on what we do know. We’ve got young guys that probably shouldn’t be seeing as much playing time this year, but that will help them grow. You have to focus and give credit to the growth of freshman Devonte Gaines. If Barnes will allow him to play through his mistakes, I believe Gaines can really contribute to the team and we need him to come through (especially on Saturday).
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room— what’s the starting lineup going to look like on Saturday? I have no clue what Barnes will do, but if I was him, this would be my starting lineup:
SF- Devonte Gaines
Not a huge lineup, but we got to make the best decisions before new comer Santiago Vescovi comes.
So... Are we throwing the season away or are we still hanging on to a NCAA tournament possibility? I think it’s ridiculous to ride this team considering how “down” college basketball is this year. I’m not giving up on the Vols, but this team will have to win some games against big-name programs like Kentucky and Florida to split the home & home series. It all starts with Saturday’s home game against Wisconsin, though. This team has to learn to get the ball in the rim and find some rhythm (which they have lacked all year). I think this team will come out with a fire and won’t be so passive— considering they don’t have Turner to lean on.
This team can still be in-play from a 5 seed to 12 seed in the NCAA tournament. It’s not time to panic, but it’s time to realize that even though we really miss our big 3 from last year it’s now move on with the future of Tennessee basketball. With that being said, this team CAN win ballgames! Let’s go big orange! 🍊